LEAHY DEFIES GRASSELY BY HOLDING JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEARING ON OBAMA’S THIRD U.S. SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: MERRICK GARLAND
“And it proves, in the last place, that liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have everything to fear from its union with either of the other departments.” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 78, 1788
“If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws — the first growing out of the last…. A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.” Alexander Hamilton, Essay in the American Daily Advertiser, Aug 28, 1794
ANTI-SECOND AMENDMENT SENATE DEMOCRATS ON JUDICIARY COMMITTEE STRUGGLE TO CAPTURE A FIFTH SEAT, LIBERAL-WING MAJORITY ON THE U.S. SUPREME COURT, TO RIP APART THE SECOND AMENDMENT OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS
On Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat-Vermont, Ranking member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, held an open hearing on Merrick Garland’s nomination. This hearing is the one Leahy had alluded to last month.
No, this wasn’t a confirmation hearing on Obama’s third appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Senator Charles Grassley, Republican-Iowa and Chairman of the Committee, didn’t preside over the hearing; nor did he appear. No other Republican member appeared. No member of the Committee, Republican or Democrat, should have appeared because Senator Grassley didn’t sanction a hearing on Garland—any hearing. Yet, the Ranking Member of the Committee, Patrick Leahy, held a hearing anyway. He held the hearing in defiance to the will of the Chairman of the Committee. He held the hearing in defiance to the will of the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican-Kentucky.
Senator Leahy admitted: “I can’t convene a confirmation hearing,” adding, “We’re in the minority.” The “minority” Leahy refers to include: Senators Feinstein, Schumer, Blumenthal, Whitehouse, Franken, Klobuchar, Durbin, and Coons. They all pressed for Garland’s nomination.
Why did Senator Leahy hold a hearing against Senator Grassley’s wishes? What did Leahy and other Judiciary Committee members and members of the Democratic Party hope to carry out?
Senator Leahy and other Democratic Party members of the Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing not simply to air personal grievances. They did so to push a personal agenda—one inconsistent with the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Senator Leahy and the Democratic Party Senators virulently oppose “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
Understand, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary doesn’t merely consider U.S. Supreme Court nominations, Appellate Court nominations and District Court nominations. The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has other important roles. “The Judiciary Committee plays an important role in the consideration of nominations and pending legislation.”
Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee draft legislation to obstruct “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” They draft legislation to defeat the Second Amendment under the pretext of serving the citizenry. They hoodwink the public. The goals they aim toward do not serve Americans’ sacred rights and liberties. They watch Americans’ behaviors, habits, and actions to control and constrain Americans. They treat Americans like wayward children. These Legislators are deceitful. They lure us in with pious words. They are America’s betrayers.
So, who appeared at Leahy’s unsanctioned, May 23, 2016 “open hearing?” Those whom you would expect: Feinstein, Schumer, Blumenthal, Whitehouse, Franken, Klobuchar, Durbin, and Coons appeared. They all support and press for Garland’s confirmation; and they all oppose “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
THE POSITIONS OF DEMOCRATIC PARTY MEMBERS OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS IS CLEAR, CATEGORICAL AND CERTAIN. THEY DARE TO SPEAK FOR ALL AMERICANS, PROCLAIMING: AMERICANS DO NOT NEED AND OUGHT NOT HAVE FIREARMS.
Leahy’s position on the Second Amendment is no secret. For years Leahy pushed Obama’s antigun agenda. The New York Times reported on Leahy’s strategy in 2013. It said, “The view of Mr. Leahy, a Democrat . . . is crucial because the work of his Judiciary Committee will be central to advancing any new gun legislation.” The Committee “will hold hearings on potential gun legislation this month [January] proceed[ing] with Mr. Obama’s request to push legislation that includes a renewal of an assault weapons ban, a limit on magazine size and universal background checks.”
Sheldon Whitehouse also signals hostility toward the Second Amendment. During Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing, Senator Tom Coburn, Republican-Oklahoma tried to get her to issue an opinion on whether gun owners have a fundamental right to bear arms.” She wouldn’t make a pronouncement.” Sheldon Whitehouse came to her defense. He said, “he was worried that the judge had been pushed too far, perhaps, in a lobbying way, to expound on an issue that is probably going to come before the Supreme Court. He suggested that a message was being sent that nominees need to signal how they will rule on gun-rights cases. He called it almost unseemly to seek commitments on future cases.”
As you might expect, U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings are a charade. Leahy isn’t kidding anyone. If Garland received a confirmation hearing, he would say nothing to reveal his antipathy toward the Second Amendment. We know U.S. Supreme Court candidates hide their personal jurisprudential and philosophical predilections during confirmation hearings, as coached, to avoid offending anyone, thereby strengthening their chance at confirmation. Justice Sotomayor hid her antipathy toward the Second Amendment at her confirmation hearing. Judge Garland would do so at his confirmation hearing, were one scheduled. Senator Grassley isn’t planning one. For, if a confirmation hearing were in the offing, Senators Whitehouse, Leahy, Feinstein, Schumer and others would come to his aid, lest he reveal his aversion toward the Second Amendment. Senator Grassley certainly knows this.
Thus, Senator Leahy’s intimation that confirmation hearings are effective at eliciting truth is dubious and disingenuous. At the May 23, 2016 hearing, Leahy asserted, “what bothers me is because he [Garland] does not have a hearing and they’re not allowing him to have a hearing, his record is being smeared by outside groups, some of these Pacs, and others. Senate Republicans are denying a distinguished public hearing and a fair opportunity.” “No,” Senator Leahy. Judge Garland’s record as revealed in our letter to you isn’t a smear. It’s the plain, unadulterated truth–truth the American public would not learn at a public hearing. That’s why Garland won’t receive a confirmation hearing; and that’s why Garland shouldn’t receive one. No person deserves a seat on the high Court who does not respect, in fact, revere our Bill of Rights–all Ten Amendments.
Obama and the Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats’ Trifecta bet is: Sotomayor, Kagan, and Garland. Obama is two for three. He aims for all three. For these three the Second Amendment is an anathema. Obama knows this. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have considered them. He wouldn’t have considered them if they were merely neutral on the Second Amendment, much less a proponent of the Second Amendment. Obama wants fanatics on the U.S. Supreme Court. He wants individuals on the U.S. Supreme Court who share his hostility toward the continued existence of our Nation’s Second Amendment. Ranking member Senator Leahy and his fellow Democrats on the Judiciary Committee also want fanatics on the U.S. Supreme Court. These cohorts of Senator Leahy willingly support and do their part to promote Obama’s antigun agenda.
If Garland secures a seat on the high Court, the liberal-wing gains a fifth vote. The liberal-wing then has its majority. The liberal-wing of the U.S. Supreme Court strenuously opposes the fundamental right codified in the Second Amendment.
Let’s consider Senator Dianne Feinstein’s position on the Second Amendment. Does the American public truly harbor any doubt? Feinstein’s resentment toward the Second Amendment is well-known, her remarks against gun ownership, legion. She took personally the failure of her bill to ban over two thousand types of firearms but continued undeterred.
Charles Schumer also attacks the Second Amendment with passion. In 1994, then “Representative” Schumer, with the late Senator Howard Metzenbaum, Democrat-Ohio, “introduced a ‘kitchen-sink’ bill that covered everything from licensing to lists of weapons to be prohibited. It proved politically ahead of its time.”
Richard Blumenthal uses sporadic shooting sprees to couch attacks on the Second Amendment. He said, “he hoped that the latest [2014 Santa Barbara] shooting would ‘provide an impetus to bring back measures that would keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people who are severely troubled or deranged, like this young man was.’”
Blumenthal’s remark may sound sensible. But, the remark carries dangerous implications. Millions of American’s would lose their Second Amendment rights. Even if Legislators carefully tailored a law, can Americans trust the federal government to interpret the law narrowly? Not likely! Consider, too, the difficulties in defining English words. How do we define the word, ‘severely,’ as a modifier for the word, ‘troubled’? How do we define the word, ‘deranged?’ Medical doctors don’t use these words. They are not medical terms of art. Lawyers don’t use these words either. They aren’t legal terms of art. They are rhetorical words. They merely suggest but point to nothing.
Before we exclude a group of Americans from exercising their Second Amendment rights, give the matter thought. Millions of law-abiding Americans may lose their Second Amendment right “to keep and bear arms” simply because their doctors prescribe an antidepressant for them.
What can we glean from Al Franken’s record on the Second Amendment? Franken is cagey, but his contempt for the Second Amendment is obvious. Sure, he sounds like a supporter of the Second Amendment. He says, “Minnesota has a long tradition of gun ownership, and I support Minnesotans’ right to own a gun for collection, protection, and sport. I also believe that the Second Amendment protects that right against both the federal government and the states. But the right to own a firearm is not one to be taken lightly. I believe Minnesota has struck the proper balance, for example, by requiring background checks and live firearms training for carry permits.” Let’s parse one phrase in that passage.
We ask, “what does Al Franken mean here by ‘proper balance’ as applied to law-abiding Minnesota residents?” What does Al Franken mean by ‘proper balance’ as applied to all law-abiding Americans? Franken means strict gun control Consider: Al Franken “voted YES on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets.”
In 2008 Franken said he supports a federal ‘assault weapons’ ban but then oddly claims he supports the Second Amendment. The claim means nothing. It’s a trick. Antigun zealots employ it, continuously, to keep proponents of the Second Amendment at bay, guessing. But Americans recognize the ploy. Antigun zealots won’t rest until the Second Amendment ceases to exist. Franken reiterates antigun sentiment through rehearsed talking points, lacking substance.
Senator Klobuchar sponsored an antigun bill, heralded by Michael Bloomberg’s antigun group, “Everytown for Gun Safety.”
Klobuchar suggests she, too, supports the Second Amendment. But, she doesn’t. She asserts, “I would do nothing to hurt hunting” but she also says she voted for bans on “assault weapons” and on “high-capacity magazines”—those magazines holding over ten rounds.
Senator Richard Durbin fiercely attacks the Second Amendment. His distaste for the Second Amendment is as virulent and venomous as Feinstein’s.
To his shame Senator Durbin defends U.N. efforts to repeal our Country’s unique and sacred Second Amendment. He voted, “no,” on “Amendment SA 2774 to H.R. 2764, the Department of State’s International Aid bill: To prohibit the use of funds by international organizations, agencies, and entities (including the United Nations) that require the registration of, or taxes guns owned by citizens of the United States.” Previously cited.
Senator Vitter, Republican-Louisiana, pointed out, that SA 2774 “is about an effort in the United Nations to bring gun control to various countries through that international organization. Unfortunately, that has been an ongoing effort which poses a real threat, back to 1995. In 2001, the UN General Assembly adopted a program of action designed to infringe on second amendment rights. The Vitter amendment simply says we are not going to support any international organization that requires a registration of US citizens’ guns or taxes US citizens’ guns.” Previously cited.
Plainly, the UN’s bold attack on America’s Bill of Rights doesn’t offend Senator Durbin. He supports UN efforts to undermine our Bill of Rights.
Last, let’s not forget, Senator, Chris Coons position on the Second Amendment. Coons urges President Obama to use executive action to undermine the Second Amendment. Imagine, Coons would sacrifice the Second Amendment and Congressional Article 1, Section 1 Legislative authority to the U.S. President simply to continue a partisan antigun agenda.
A PANEL OF GARLAND SUPPORTERS GATHERED TO BUTTRESS ANTIGUN JUDGE MERRICK GARLAND’S NOMINATION
Ranking Senate Judiciary Committee Member Leahy and fellow Senate Democrats on the Committee contacted associates of Judge Merrick Garland. The panel comprised a former jurist, a law professor, an appellate law attorney and former judge, and a former U.S. Attorney.
Each spouted the usual praises: “wonderful judge,” “eminently qualified,” “wonderful human being” “engaged and committed parent,” “sharp, analytical mind,” and so on. Fine traits, yes wanted of all who aspire to sit on the high Court. We have heard them before; we hear them now, constantly. But Judge Garland’s finer qualities aren’t in dispute. His judicial record is.
The hour-long hearing comprised a multitude of flowery pronouncements, empty oratory, and, from the Senate Democrats, spiteful insults, criticisms, and whispers.
Senator Feinstein piously declared a concern over a Supreme Court constrained, “for a substantial period of time” by a “tie,” “a four to four position.” Senator Leahy says the failure of the high Court to act on cases—given the present 4 to 4 tie—places the Federal Appellate Courts “in limbo.” But Leahy’s statement isn’t true. Feinstein’s remarks and Leahy’s lay bare an agenda, underscored by their assertions. They seek a five to four liberal-wing majority on the high Court. They say consistency among the Circuit Courts is necessary, but is it?
Do we want consistency if U.S. Supreme Court rulings weaken Americans’ rights and liberties throughout the Country? Do we Americans want consistency among the Several States if U.S. Supreme Court rulings reflect foreign law antithetical to our traditions and values, and inconsistent with our Bill of Rights? Wouldn’t Americans find judicial rulings peppered and laced with alien jurisprudence and philosophy singularly bizarre? Wouldn’t Americans detest U.S. Supreme Court opinion that undermine their rights? Is not the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s philosophy and jurisprudential approach to U.S. Supreme Court decision-making worth preserving? If so, Senator Leahy’s remark we need a “fully functioning [nine Justice] Supreme Court”—with a five-to-four liberal wing majority—is to wrongheaded.
Tie votes are not necessarily a bad thing. If a tie vote occurs, the decisions of the Appellate Courts remain valid. Yes, conflicts in the Circuits exist absent a U.S. Supreme Court decision. But conflicts always exist. The high Court hears only a handful of cases. A liberal wing majority would decide cases contrary to the well-being of the Bill of Rights. A liberal wing majority would also canvass cases to hear—cases involving matters best left to the States under the Tenth Amendment.
Consider the remarks of Justin Driver, Professor of law at the University of Chicago. He clerked under Judge Garland from 2005 to 2006. Driver said, “The [U.S. Supreme] Court views itself as articulating general applicable principles, not merely resolving a dispute between a few parties.” How do we square that remark with Professor Driver’s other assertions? Professor Driver asserts, Judge Garland “avoids grand sweeping pronouncements, and keeps the opinions narrow,” that Judge Garland “is measured in his approach to the law,” and that “he honors existing precedent”?
How might Judge Garland’s jurisprudence as a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit translate to the U.S. Supreme Court on Second Amendment issues? A fifth liberal-wing vote would weaken or overturn, outright, the Heller and McDonald case holdings?
A QUESTION ABOUT IDEOLOGY ON THE SUPREME COURT
Senator Leahy and his fellow Democrats on the Judiciary Committee self-righteously assert a hostility toward ideology. They proclaim the U.S. Supreme Court must remain pure, empty of “politics.” Yet, the U.S. Supreme Court, as the third Branch of Government, is, a political institution. Politics exists in the third Branch no less so than in the other two. Ideology, too, exists. Ideology is not necessarily a bad thing. Ideology defines every person. Each jurist espouses an ideology, and that ideology suffuses each jurist’s decisions. Judge Merrick Garland expressed his ideology toward the Second Amendment in the Parker and Reno cases.
JUDGE MERRICK GARLAND MUST NOT SECURE A SEAT ON THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
We know Judge Garland’s position on Second Amendment issues. We looked at his record. With Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the high Court—a jurist who espouses a philosophy hostile to the Second Amendment—the assault on the Second Amendment continues. The Arbalest Quarrel amply shows Garland’s hostility to the Second Amendment in multiple articles.
The conclusion is plain. If Judge Merrick Garland secures a seat on the high Court, we know he would undermine the Second Amendment. The high Court’s liberal wing would have a majority and would undo Justice Scalia’s legacy.
If Judge Garland sits on the high Court as Justice Garland, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, as a sacred individual right, will come under renewed assault. Protection of our sacred rights and liberties ought to take precedence over presumed Senate protocol. Senator Leahy doesn’t think so, despite his remarks. He insists a confirmation hearing for Garland is proper. Perhaps for him, not for us. Leahy doesn’t speak for most Americans; neither does Hillary Clinton.
In a May 24, 2016 editorial, the Wall Street Journal editorial staff said, “Mrs. Clinton did criticize the Supreme Court [in Heller] for being ‘wrong on the Second Amendment.’”
The editorial staff also said, “Mrs. Clinton knows that four liberal Justices dissented from Heller. . . . Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the dissenters, told a luncheon of the Harvard Club in 2009 that their dissent was crafted with an eye to helping a ‘future, wiser court’ overturn Heller.” Previously cited. The editorial staff added, poignantly, “If Mrs. Clinton selects Antonin Scalia’s replacement, she knows the Court’s liberals with get their opportunity to overturn Heller. The Second Amendment really is on the ballot this November.” Previously cited.
Senator Leahy and other Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee want a jurist on the high Court who represent their ideology—one antithetical to the Second Amendment. Hillary Clinton won’t disappoint them if elected U.S. President. Judge Garland is their man. He isn’t ours.Copyright © 2016 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.